Thursday 10 March 2022

St Pat's Day Whiskies - Tullamore, The Whistler (PX I Love You), The Dubliner, Slane [Tasted: #562 - #564]

St Pat's Day on March 17 has always seen a global celebration of all things Irish and this year is no different. As we all emerge from our prolonged hibernation, we may be wondering what's the best way to celebrate St Pat's Day. Perhaps we might need to re-kindle ourselves with traditional Irish beverages  - Irish whiskies, beers or ciders.

Of the three, the choice is clear for us. Without a doubt, our pick would be Irish whiskies.

To showcase the goodness of Irish Whiskies ahead of St Pat's Day, we joined William Lavelle from the Irish Whiskey Association, Rosie Keane, the Irish Consul-General to Sydney and a number of Irish Whiskey Distillery Reps to explore four Irish Whiskies as part of the Discover (Irish) Whiskies campaign.

To kick off the session, we were (virtually) serenaded by Dan Elliott, an Irish singer-songwriter from Cork, Ireland who had managed to welcome us to the session. He did so rather well, given no whiskies had been drunk at that time and clearly not by Dan as it was pre-breakfast for him.

An interesting fact that was shared at the start of the session was the fact that Irish Whiskies are now growing significantly globally. It was also not lost to me that the session started with William sharing reminding us that Ireland is in fact where whiskey distilling first started and where whiskey got its name. Here we are in 2022 and Irish whiskies continue to be one of the world's fastest-growing categories with significant growth in both emerging markets such as Africa and other mature markets.

As with most Irish whiskies, they are traditionally distilled three times. A distillation process designed to isolate and remove the esters and other impurities. Also, similar to the Scotch, all Irish whiskey is, by law, matured for at least three years, though there are now various methods used by distillers to mature their whiskies. The Whistler (PX I Love You), for example, is initially matured in ex-bourbon casks but finished in ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks for 9 months. Compare this to Slane, where after distillation, Slane matures their whiskies in 3 different barrels - virgin oak, seasoned Tennessee whiskey and Oloroso sherry before being blended.

The four Irish whiskies that we explored in the Discover (Irish) Whiskies session were Tullamore D.E.W, The Whistler (PX I Love You), The Dubliner and Slane.

Tullamore D.E.W (The Original)

Tullamore D.E.W just broke 18 million bottles last year, this follows the return of distillation back home in 2014. A tripled distilled and triple blended (single malt, single grain, single pot still) whisky, the original Tullamore D.E.W (DEW) is very fresh, grassy and clean. The palate is light to medium bodied with hints of apple and citrus on the palate and finish. It is quite light and fresh, an outcome of the triple distillation.

The Dubliner Bourbon Cask (40%, Dublin, IrelandA$47.95) 

The Dubliner distillery was opened in 2018 and is led by ex-Bushmills Master Distiller Daryl McNally. Their whiskies include the original Dubliner 10-Year-Old single malt, Whiskey & Honeycomb liqueur and a couple of beer cask matured whiskies.

There were actually two Dubliners we explored; the Bourbon Cask and a Whiskey & Honeycomb liqueur. I will go into the Bourbon Cask. 

Nose: The nose is light and crisp, there are apple and pear notes.

Palate: The palate is quite peppery at first but slowly opens up to the vanilla, honey and caramel notes. 

Finish: The finish is full of tannin but there are remnants of honey that is left behind.

Rating: 89/100 

Slane (40%, Boyne Valley, IrelandA$54.95) 

Slane Distillery was established by the Conyngham family, a family that is famously connected to the Slane Castle, located by the river Boyne. Brown Forman took over the Slane Distillery project in 2015 before ramping up production in 2018. It initially became popular in America but is now found widely abroad. 

NoseThe nose is light, smooth and creamy. There are apple, cereal and grain notes.

PalateThe palate is elegant, composed. There is vanilla and fudge on the palate with some pistachio in between. There is some heat but it is very much restrained.

Finish: Light, enjoyable and invites you to take another sip.

Rating: 90/100 

The Whistler "PX I Love You Single Malt Irish Whiskey" (46%, Boyne Valley, IrelandA$89.99) 


The Whistler P.X. I Love You Single Malt was one of the highlights of the four whiskies in the session. 

The distillery name is aptly named after Peter Cooney, not so much Peter himself but the notion of the whistling antic that Peter would do at the distillery. Peter Cooney, the co-founder and export director of Boann - the company that owns The Whistler would walk around the distillery all day - whistling. 

This particular bottling that we explored is a single malt Irish whiskey that is initially matured in ex-bourbon casks before being finished in ex-PX sherry casks for 9 months. The PX sherry and the influence this fortified wine’s casks had on the single malt Irish whiskey was excellent. The finishing in PX casks has given this particular whiskey, a lot of sherry influence. 

NoseThe sherry-cask finishing comes immediately to the nose. Lots of sweet cranberries, dried fruit, currants, citrus and port-like nose.

PalateThe palate is less sweet than the nose yet still quite fruity. There are dates, cranberries, and lots of vanilla coating the mouth and there is nuttiness and citrus as it lingers on.

Finish: The finish is relatively long and leaves a good drying heat.

Rating: 92/100 

As part of the Discover (Irish) Whiskies campaign, there are a number of articles that have been published- all centred around Irish Whiskies including a food pairing guide and Irish whiskey cocktails recipes. You can find those articles and guides here, Irish Whiskey - Depth and Diversity:



Thanks to the Irish Whiskey Association for having us as part of this campaign.

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